spook of the ozarks

unapologetic liberal

Friday, June 30, 2006

Well put

SFChonicle editorial:

Looks as if the blank check that the Bush administration has been waving around has finally bounced.

via Froomkin.

Close Gitmo

Exhibit A:

The U.S. government said it could not find the men that Guantánamo detainee Abdullah Mujahid believes could help set him free. The Guardian found them in three days.
Two years ago the U.S. military invited Mr Mujahid, a former Afghan police commander accused of plotting against the United States, to prove his innocence before a special military tribunal. As was his right, Mr Mujahid called four witnesses from Afghanistan.
But months later the tribunal president returned with bad news: the witnesses could not be found. Mr Mujahid's hopes sank and he was returned to the wire-mesh cell where he remains today.

A lot of these guys are there simply because of somebody's personal grudge.


Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives yesterday voted to condemn the decision by several newspapers to publish details of the Bush administration's secret program to track terrorist financing, in a swipe at the media aimed primarily at The New York Times.

This is the work of Karl Rove: The program wasn't secret.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


A good thing

Take that:

The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush administration, ruling that the military tribunals it created to try terror suspects violate both American military law and the Geneva Convention.
In a 5-to-3 ruling, the justices also rejected an effort by Congress to strip the court of jurisdiction over habeas corpus appeals by detainees at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
And the court found that the plaintiff in the case, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, could not be tried on the conspiracy charge lodged against him because international military law requires that prosecutions focus on specific acts, not broad conspiracy charges.

Roberts had to recuse himself; he thought this was fine before he was chief supremo. His betters correct him. More like this, please.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Gene Lyons:

Military experts such as Gen. George Shinseki, ...

Try Eric. Iraq-related Conason column here.

Good for Sarge

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


NYTimes quotation of the day:

"I am here to say the debate is over: the science is clear."

Global warming? Nah, the surgeon general, announcing that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. This is not an original observation, but it's still a mystery: conservatives' disbelief in global warming, and science in general. Political support from the fossil fuel industry or irrational Gore hatred? Anyway, it highlights that the GOP decided to make Jim Inhofe the chair of the Senate environmental committee. These guys have progressed beyond being an international disgrace to being a genuine threat to the long-term survival of the human race.

Shading the truth


Bush said Monday that members of Congress had been briefed in advance on the program, and that "what we did was fully authorized under the law."
... The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that she and many of her colleagues on the panel were briefed on the program by Treasury Department officials only after the administration learned it would be exposed in the press.
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) said that she did not learn about the transaction-monitoring program until last month, even though it had been in operation since shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Maybe when he said in advance he meant before its exposure. Or maybe when he said members of Congress he meant Pat Roberts and Peter King.


Compounding the incompetence:

WASHINGTON, June 26 — Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.

They've wrecked the government. Frank Rich explained how the other day.

This should provide weeks of fun

Palm Beach Post:

Less than two months after striking a deal to avoid criminal prosecution, conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after customs agents found a bottle of Viagra prescribed to someone else in his luggage.

Monday, June 26, 2006



BAGHDAD — With the heat soaring and the overtaxed and dilapidated power grid squeezing out barely a few hours of electricity a day in parts of the capital, sweaty Iraqis will remember this as the fourth simmering summer of their discontent.
It is more than 120 degrees outside and relief is nowhere in sight.

Actually, it is only 99 right now -- at nearly midnight.


Sen. Lincoln is getting the attention she deserves for backing repeal of the estate tax, including a comparison to Joementum, in the context of his primary challenge by someone with Democratic tendencies. So who's going to be our Ned Lamont? No excerpt; go read it.
via Warwick.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

They're all crooked


Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist.

It's long, but worth reading the whole thing to see which nonprofits might lose their tax-exempt status. Even if they hate taxes as much as Grover hates taxes, nobody's going to give money to his phony "nonprofit" unless they get a tax deduction.

Why we don't watch CNN

Not exactly fair and balanced.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


The Iraqis want one. The commander of "coalition" forces has one. Rhetorical question: So what were all those congressional theatrics last week about? Hint: The GOP Congress dances to the tune emanating from a "big, fat backside."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Froomkin says the White House is sending daily talking points to congressional Republicans. Among Thursday's:

The president's strategy for Iraq is working.

What strategy is that? Working? Read this.

That didn't last long

He refused lunch:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein ended a brief hunger strike after missing just one meal in his U.S.-run prison, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.

Unarmed terrorists

Not exactly clear and present danger:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has suffered enough legal setbacks in its war on terrorism to suggest the conviction of seven men accused of a plot to attack America's tallest building is anything but certain.
Officials said the seven arrested this week were part of a domestic terrorism cell plotting to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago. They also said any plot was at an early stage; the men did not have the weapons needed to carry out a plot.

Josh noted that the indictment says they wanted the snitch who was pretending to be an al-Qaida man to supply them with boots and uniforms, and asks: "Terrorist uniforms?"



According to various polls, an estimated 40% of Americans believe that a sequence of events presaging the end times is already under way.

These are dangerous people because they include many of our political leaders.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Color us skeptical

Can't wait to hear more:

MIAMI (AP) -- Seven people were arrested Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S., including the FBI office here, a federal law enforcement official said.
As part of the raids related to the arrests, FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Miami's Liberty City area, using a blowtorch to take off a metal door. One neighbor said the suspects had been sleeping in the warehouse while running what seemed to be a "military boot camp."
The official told The Associated Press the alleged plotters were mainly Americans with no apparent ties to al-Qaida or other foreign terrorist organizations.

Maybe it's Jose Padilla's ad hoc sleeper cell. Or maybe it will turn out to be less sensational a threat than "a federal law enforcement official" told AP. Eventually, we'll find out.


Arriving momentarily.

Our media


Apparently if Karl Rove signs off on a political strategy (hit the Dems hard over Iraq), the press assumes it's a work of genius and shows little interest in dwelling on the pertinent questions, such as isn't there an obvious risk Republicans run in making the hugely unpopular war in Iraq, and specifically the notion that U.S. troops should pretty much stay there indefinitely, the centerpiece for their 2006 campaign?

But that's the GOP plan. And if they remain in power, we'll be in Iraq forever. Why won't the corporate media report that?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

W defacing U.S. flag?

Debate this, senators.

In case you missed it

PBS' "Frontline: The Dark Side" can be viewed online later today here. We recommend it. We skipped the first half of the NBA game to watch it.

Why copy editors are useful

They correct embarrassing mistakes like this one in The Progress Report e-mail:

The AP has obtained the FBI files on playwright Arthur Miller, a "longtime liberal who opposed the Vietnam War" and "supported civil rights." (In 1956, Miller famously refused to name names before Eugene McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee.) One FBI report said Miller's "religious" wedding ceremony was a "cover up" since he was a "cultural front man" for the secular Communist Party.

Ouch. They've corrected it at Think Progress.

Wednesday standards

Conason on the silly flag-burning amendment. Lyons (we think) on Murtha v. Rove in re: Iraq. We think because the Demo-zette has apparently deleted his byline and tagline.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Let's find out if it works

Here's our chance:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has activated its ground-based interceptor missile-defense system amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

The North Korean missile won't have a radio beacon the interceptor can home in on.

Jason Leopold's journalistic ethics

He apparently has none, as Joe Lauria reports in the Post.

Safavian guilty

Somehow, AP's Pete Yost managed to omit what penalties he faces at his October sentencing. Let's go to the Post:

Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Safavian thus faces up to 20 years in prison for the four counts.

Missing GIs found dead

This sad outcome is about what we expected.

Memo from Baghdad

The Post put a pdf online. Juan Cole publishes it in html. It's not getting much attention from the rest of the corporate media.

New Suskind book

Michiko Kakutani reviews it, including this:

[The Iraq war], according to the author's sources who attended National Security Council briefings in 2002, was primarily waged "to make an example" of Saddam Hussein, to "create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States."

Think they could have sold that reason to the public before the war? Maybe. But they apparently didn't think so. Dan Froomkin had more yesterday. Sounds like a must read.
MORE REVIEWS: Bart Gellman, Tim Rutten.

The Jews of Benton County

Some of us can remember when a Wal-Mart executive's family were the only blacks living in that county, or so people there said. Now Bentonville has a synagogue, as the NYTimes reports, in a former "Assembly of God church" (Assembly of God people don't like that "church" suffix, we're told). Wal-Mart has many faults, but it does have a diverse work force, as do its many suppliers.

Another victory in the 'global war on terrorism'

This was a joke from the start. People around here aren't stupid. He'll probably get deported, but he takes with him his doctorate in chemistry. Peace be upon him, inshallah.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Threadbot gone wild

Over at Atrios' place.

Sound familiar?

Bigtime on Iraq:

"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered."

Or planes used as missiles or the levees breached.

Josh has smart readers

Read what they say. And what's up with his header?

Pardon for 'Scooter?'

Yeah, W can do it even before Libby's convicted of anything, as Newsday points out.

Nice gig

Where do you apply for this job (or one like it)?

Read it

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We get mail

From Telephone:

AT&T will continue to apply to your account the same safeguards and security measures that we have in the past, including our strict policy of not sharing customers' information with third parties, such as advertisers, for their marketing purposes.

Yeah, right. Advertisers aren't the third parties we're worried about. And judging by the volume of spam we get, they have other ways of getting it.

Full of shit on the estate tax

Not enough of her constituents will see it in the LATimes, but Jon Chait explains today why Blanche Lincoln deserves a primary challenge from a real Democrat in 2010.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Cashing in


WASHINGTON, June 17 — Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic security team, assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are now collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell domestic security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run.
At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security — including the department's former secretary, Tom Ridge; the former deputy secretary, Adm. James M. Loy; and the former under secretary, Asa Hutchinson — are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic security business.

Asa sure sounds defensive in this piece. It's nice that he has something to fall back on after November.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Democrats police themselves

This is good:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Add political banishment to the list of problems confronting Rep. William Jefferson, ensnared in a bribery scandal that fellow Democrats hope to turn to their election-year advantage.
"Democrats are determined to hold a high ethical standard," the party's leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday night after engineering a 99-58 vote of the rank and file that stripped Jefferson of his seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Jefferson's a crook. He belongs in jail.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Keystone Kops

Purloining a post

This is so rich, we're lifting the whole thing from Markos:

Today, at a presser, this exchange happened with Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times:

Bush: You gonna ask your question with shades on?
Wallsten: Yes...
Bush: But there's no sun out here.
Wallsten: It depends on your perspective.
Bush: Touché.

Wallsten is blind.

Lyons, Conason

Unlike Ann Coulter, the "Jersey Girls" aren't seeking to exploit their misfortune for fame and monetary gain. Gene and Joe have their backs.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jeebus loves us

Local wingnut Ronnie Floyd loses in bid for Southern Baptist presidency. He's still an embarrassment, but at least not on the national stage.

Good advice


... I hope this serves a lesson to all of you who link to crap Internet sources like Jason Leopold merely because they write what you want to hear.

We're wary of linking to shit we suspect is overly optimistic, even if Raw Story is accurate sometimes.

Jury gets Safavian case

First trial of more-to-come Abramoff-related prosecutions; for some reason, the government didn't make Jack testify.
UPDATE: Justice delayed.


Opening arguments were today here in the trial of Arwah Jaber, a Palestinian former grad student accused of intending to join Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And The Morning News already has a story posted online. We don't think this guy aspired to become a terrorist.
In remotely related news: The IDF are lying.

Rove skates


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top White House aide Karl Rove has been told by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity, his lawyer said Tuesday, lifting a heavy burden from one of President Bush's most trusted advisers.

Poor Jason Leopold. Whatever credibility he had left is shot.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rove's plan for the midterms


... Republicans began a new effort to use last week's events to turn the war to their political advantage after months of anxiety, and to sharpen attacks against Democrats. On Monday night, the president's top political strategist, Karl Rove, told supporters in New Hampshire that if the Democrats had their way, Iraq would fall to terrorists and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would not have been killed.
"When it gets tough, and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party's old pattern of cutting and running," Mr. Rove said at a state Republican Party gathering in Manchester.

They're going to choke on dust before they quit going to this well. The Iraq adventure is a lose/lose proposition at this point. The longer we stay, the more terrorists we recruit and train. The only thing that remains unanswered is the date-certain when the occupation will end. After which, the Iraqis will chase the terrorists out of Iraq and we'll have to try to track them to wherever they scatter -- something the next president will have to deal with.

World Cup

On DW TV "Journal," the presenters can barely interrupt their discussion of the World Cup to read the news. Meanwhile, on Univision, the Czechs are kicking some U.S. butts.

Progress Report

In our e-mail for the first time in months. Can a request for donations be far behind?

Worst seller

Mary Cheney's book has sold fewer than 6,000 copies, and she got a $1 milion advance.
via HuffPo.

Gasoline tank fire

This happens over there occasionally.

It's nearly a hurricane


At 11 a.m., Alberto's winds had increased to 70 mph, up from 50 mph just three hours earlier.

What he says

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This is unacceptable

And undoable:

Officials say the administration has begun to look at the costs of maintaining a force of roughly 50,000 troops there for years to come, roughly the size of the American presence maintained in the Philippines and Korea for decades after those conflicts.

The situations are not really analogous. Most Iraqis, unlike many Filipinos then and most South Koreans still, don't want us there. President Gore would never have fucked up this royally.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gitmo suicides

Three of 'em:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three detainees at Guantanamo Bay apparently committed suicide amid protests of the U.S. military prison by inmates, the Defense Department said Saturday. They were the first reported deaths at the detention center for suspected terrorists.

"The first reported deaths" of "suspected terrorists." We need to close that place and put those people on trial if we've got any good evidence against them. Now that these three are dead, there's no reason not to release what they did to get there.

UPDATE: Reuters:

Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Guantanamo, told a news conference the suicides were an act of warfare. "They are smart. They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us," Harris said.

Let's hope al-Qaida and all our other enemies embrace this tactic. It would make winning the so-called "war on terrorism" so much quicker and easier.

NYT at YearlyKos

They've got it covered. Ad Nags and MoDo are there.

Friday, June 09, 2006

House rejects Net neutrality

Unsurprisingly, the House wants to let the telcos control the Internet. It's up to the Senate now. Can someone explain this issue to Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark.?

Specter doesn't let us down

Yesterday we called him toothless and worthless. Add spineless. Glenn Greewald explains.

At last

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bush Sr. tried, failed to get Rummy canned

So says Sidney Blumenthal in Salon. Just do the ad thing.

Blogger continues to torment us

Grrrrr. Seems like it's back after about three-plus hours.

Now he's pissed

Dick Cheney has dissed Arlen Specter one time too many. Specter, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been threatening to exercise some oversight of the White House on the issue of illegal warrantless eavesdropping on Americans' phone calls and other power grabs. Cheney went behind Specter's back to negotiate with other Republicans on the committee. Now Specter's taking action. He wrote Cheney a letter. What a toothless, worthless piece of shit.

Zarqawi dead

At last:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most-wanted terrorist in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of beheadings and suicide bombings, was killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on his isolated safe house, officials said Thursday. His death was a long-sought victory in the war in Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi and several aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles from Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said.

The AP doesn't mention how he was supposed to have been one-legged or how we didn't kill him before the war because it would have undermined the bogus Saddam/al-Qaida justification, but nevertheless, the world has several fewer maniacs at large now.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blogger hates us

At least it did most of the day. Seems to finally be working. And by "us," we mean everybody who uses it. But if it had to crash it picked a good day to do it; most of the cool bloggers were traveling to Vegas for YearlyKos.


It's common knowledge that Jim "global warming is a hoax" Inhofe is a wingnut, but this performance yesterday on the Senate floor should embarrass even Oklahomans.

Wednesday op-eds

Joe Conason presents the latest evidence that Michael Chertoff is incompetent and should be fired.
Gene Lyons expresses skepticism about W's alleged willingness to deal diplomatically with Iran.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Social Security

It's almost like the GOP is forming their own circular firing squad.

Lost cause

Iraq is fucked, and there's no putting it back together.


Billy Preston:

Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing," died today at 59.
Preston's longtime manager, Joyce Moore, said Preston had been in a coma since November in a care facility and was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale on Saturday after his condition deteriorated.
Preston had battled chronic kidney failure, and he received a kidney transplant in 2002. But the kidney failed and he has been on dialysis ever since, Moore said earlier this year.

Ruined day

We awoke to the sight of Ann Coulter on the TV. We switched it off. So we missed this disgusting exchange. What a horrible excuse for a human being.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Free trips

Must be nice:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Members of the U.S. Congress and their aides took free trips worth nearly $50 million paid for by corporations, trade associations and other private groups between January 2000 and June 2005, according to a study released on Monday.
Some of the 23,000 trips featured $500-a-night hotel rooms, $25,000 corporate jet rides and visits
to popular spots such as Paris, Hawaii and Colorado ski resorts, said the study, by the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University's Medill News Service.

We really need new members. A lot of the incumbents -- Democrats, too -- will never give up this perk.

Wall-to-wall wingnuts

The Dallas Morning News puts coverage of the Texas GOP convention in the Religion section.

'He hates everything'

In a post on how reporters get played, Josh writes this:

Actually, 'easy marks' probably isn't the best word for it. Since it's not that they're naive or easily taken in. It's more like the Mikey kid in the old Life cereal commercials: They'll eat anything. More to the point, they'll launder the oppo research into print with the spin, deceptive ordering or suppression of key facts intact.

You see this all the time. But that's not what they said in the commercial. What they said was, "Let's get Mikey. He won't eat it. He hates everything." How that got turned into "he'll eat anything" is a mystery.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A shovel

We wondered about this:

[An] ... inquiry involves seven U.S. Marines and a sailor in the death of an Iraqi civilian near Baghdad in April. It is believed the man was dragged from his home and shot before an AK-47 and a shovel were placed next to his body to make it look like he was an insurgent.

What's the deal with the shovel? We hadn't seen the explanation until The Observer cleared it up:

It is a practice that [Garrett] Reppenhagen, [a former U.S. sniper] who is now a senior member of peace group Iraq Veterans Against the War, said had happened before. "We have members who can tell you about carrying shovels in their vehicles to throw down next to killed civilians as 'proof' that they were planting IEDs [improvised explosive devices]," he said.

So some of our troops apparently consider possession of a shovel cause for summary execution.


This would be like repeatedly hiring Bob Shrum as a consultant for your presidential campaign -- which is why it could happen.


Nobody is more deserving of ridicule than CEI:

I HAD ALWAYS thought that nobody had a lower opinion than I as to the analytical capacities of the American public. Then I discovered the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Low-hanging fruit. Their "CO2 is our friend" ads were really so stupid they were funny.

Is this an obligation or a threat?

Byron Calame:

The Times's decision to publish the article, which clearly looked beyond the Senate campaign, seems to signal that the paper has launched its coverage of Ms. Clinton's expected presidential bid. As that effort unfolds, the paper will have an obligation to continue to assess the Clintons' unique relationship with even more attention to political relevance and understatement than it demonstrated in last month's article.

Anchor baby

This reminded us of an episode of "Lou Grant" where they investigated a neo-Nazi leader (played by Peter Weller) and learned he was actually Jewish. So is the racist Michelle Malkin actually an "anchor baby?" Sounds about right.

Police beat

Midnight snack:

At 12:14 a.m. Friday, a caller reported baking dogs at 2315 S.W. Morris St.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Vince Welnick:

Vince passed from this earth on June 2, 2006, at the age of 55 after a decade of battling tragedy while creating beauty and light around him.

His bio at the link says he was born in 1955. Anyhow, we remember him with The Tubes as well as with the Dead. He was their fourth keyboardist to die.


I'm with Atrios. This Unity08 thing will go nowhere. And Broder's an idiot.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Hey Franklin,
Sending me e-mail with the subject line "The Strange Genius of Oprah" is not going to induce me to subscribe to The New Republic. Sheesh.


Blogger hasn't been cooperating today.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bargain hunters

They finally showed up. It's about time.

Bad news

Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post has some good advice for journalism school grads.